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I was going to stay away. Our house certainly is big enough for the two of us to avoid each other if we wanted to. The nursery was conveniently right next to her bedroom and I could always take the back stairs if I wanted to get to the kitchen to avoid passing in front of her bedroom. I did actually stay away from her, but I couldn’t stay away from him.

Liam shouldn’t be punished for his mother’s mistakes so if he cried while she was sleeping or in the shower, I would check on him. He was my nephew after all and he was too adorable to resist. But I made sure not to let Lyra know that I was helping her in any way with him so as soon as I heard the shower turn off I would put him back down go downstairs and she wouldn’t have a clue.

I wasn’t sure how long I wanted this to go on but I knew I didn’t want to stop talking to Lyra permanently. I guess I just wanted to teach her a lesson. I wanted her to swim on her own without me as her lifejacket. Plus, I was still so very angry with her. I truly needed some time and space to get over what she did.

So I went to work, came home and then I hung out in my bedroom. I even went to Willow Creek to spend a day with Tatiana to help her with some wedding planning. I went a whole week without seeing Lyra face to face. And then one evening, I actually decided I was ready to talk to her again.

But I was too late.

She was gone.

She and Liam were both gone and so was all of their stuff. All of her clothes, shoes, her instruments, there was nothing left in that room to remind me of her. She basically moved out and didn’t even tell me.

I pulled out my phone to dial her number but then I realised I had a text message from her that was sent an hour ago.

I must have reread that message about ten times. I didn’t understand why she would just up and leave like that without saying anything. I mean, sure, I was angry but it’s like she ran away from home or something when she didn’t have to. I never wanted her or Liam to leave.

She told me about that Windenburg job offer but she never once seemed like she was interested in taking it. I started to wonder if I made her feel unwelcomed and if my silent treatment pushed her into thinking I wanted her gone. Like I wanted her out of my life.

Then I spoke to Kaleb and he told me that she accepted the job offer the day after Liam was born, after our big fight. She told him she thought the new job was the best move for her and her son. Apparently, the theatre was going to set her up with a townhouse and offered free child care during gigs and practice sessions. The only catch was that they expected her to start within a week which was why she left so abruptly.

It made me feel a little better knowing that it was a career opportunity and not me that made her decide to move halfway across the world but I still felt like she could have told me her decision in person. It might have given us the opportunity to get to a good place before she left. But then again, maybe a little more space between us was what we needed in order to reconcile.

I hoped that would also be true for Michael and me.

I called and texted but he never responded. I felt like I should give up but I didn’t want to. I love him so much and I know he must be hurting and I just wish he would answer so I could be there for him but at the same time I don’t blame him for shutting me out. I haven’t exactly proven myself to be someone he could turn to since I basically accused him of cheating on me twice.

And then one afternoon, I got my chance.

“Hey”

“Hey, what are you doing here?” I asked.

“Is Lyra home? I was hoping I could talk to her.”

“No, she…she moved.”

He blinked. “Where?”

“Windenburg. She left a few days ago with Liam. She got a job at a theatre over there.”

“Oh.” He looked around, seeming disappointed. “I wanted to apologise to her for yelling and all that.”

“No one blames you for being upset. It’s perfectly understandable.”

“Yeah but it’s not me. She just had a baby…I shouldn’t have reacted that way. I was so angry that she lied to me. When I saw Liam I knew he wasn’t mine right away but I didn’t say anything until we came back here. I just feel bad for how I behaved.”

He was so thoughtful. It was one of the things I admired about him the most. “I’m sure she knows that and she didn’t hold it against you. I’d like to pass on the message but we’re not really on speaking terms. She texted me to tell me she was leaving and then to tell me her plane landed and I haven’t heard from her since.”

“Hmm, well I hope she knows what she’s doing. Being a single parent is no joke, I have first-hand knowledge of that.”

“I think she’s determined to prove herself because of the things I said to her.” Tears came to my eyes. It hurts that Lyra and I have gotten to this point but I managed to keep it together. “I tried to call you but…”

“I needed time alone, to deal…”

I nodded in understanding but the air between us was so…uncomfortable. I wanted to hug him so badly not just to comfort him but also just so I could feel his arms around me again.

“…but in that time I realised something.” He finally said.

“What’s that?”

“About you and Lyra.”

“Oh?”

“I get it. I get why you were so jealous. It had nothing to do with me or not trusting me but more to do with you and her. It was easier to take it out on me.”

I sighed. “She’s done some selfish things but I’m not perfect either. I have a habit of blaming her for everything that goes wrong in my personal life. Lyra can be like a hurricane and instead of taking cover I run right into the middle of it. I should have believed in you but I guess I wanted to believe the worst of her more. I’m sorry you had to get tangled up in my issues with my sister.”

He shrugged. “It still stings but I’m gonna try to put it behind me. It’s the only thing I can do at this point.”

I nodded. “So… where does that leave us?”

He stepped closer and took my hands into his. “I don’t know about you but I’m still very much in love with you Maia Sloane.”

“You are? But I thought…you said you were done?”

“I did? I must be an idiot then, or maybe I had some bad ramen.” He chuckled. “I blame bad ramen.”

He said the same nonsense when we ran into each other outside the Nookstone Café. It brought me back to that day and reminded me of all the good times we’ve had since then. In that moment I just wanted to kiss him.

So I did.

Feeling his lips against mine after so long made my entire body tingle. I was so happy for the first time in a long time now that we were back together. I also felt more confident than ever before that I was ready to take the next step with him.

“Come with me.”

I took his hand in mine and led him upstairs. He followed me without a word. I could tell by the look on his face that he was confused probably wondering what I was up to. When he entered my bedroom he looked around. “Heh, it’s just as I imagined.”

“How so?”

“Clean, white and very organised.” He grinned. “You’re a total neat freak aren’t you?”

“Maybe a little.” I shrugged.

“Well, I hope you don’t mind getting a little dirty every now and then.”

He pulled me into a hot kiss and I relished in the feel of his body pressed against mine. Nothing was holding me back anymore. I loved him and I wanted to show him how much I loved him.

He groaned into my ear when I started tugging at his belt buckle and then he gently pushed me back. “Whoa…hold on.” He stared into my eyes intently. “Are you sure?”

“Absolutely.” I said confidently and without pause before resuming my assault on his lips. His hands started exploring my body feeling bold enough to do so now that he had my confirmation. Our shirts were discarded and his large hands caressed the bare skin of my back and arms. He stepped back as he kicked off his shoes and stared at me with lust in his eyes. “Maia…you have no idea how much I want you right now…”

“…then show me.”

Next thing I knew the rest of our clothes were off…

It hurt a little at first but I wanted him so badly that I barely noticed after a while. He was gentle as promised but there was a hunger to his movements that made it all the more amazing. And when our end came we laid there against my pillows, drained and satiated, smiling at each other as we reeled from our bliss.

“I love you.” He whispered.

“I love you too.”

There was no romantic dinner. No flowers and candles around the room either. It was in the middle of a hot day and it was all very spontaneous but to me it was perfect. He was perfect! I was so glad that I waited and that it was with Michael who was gentle and patient and made it really special for me. For us.

I was able to forget about Lyra for the rest of that evening. Michael was right, moving forward was all that we could do at this point. I hope Lyra finds happiness in Windenburg. I certainly found mine.

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